The Greek company responsible for the land registry, Ktimatologio S.A., has created an amazing toolbox for open geo data that cover Greece, using taxpayer money. The orthophotographs used are of better quality than those used in Google Maps and Microsoft Bing Maps.
However, in contast with the tools provided by Google and Microsoft, Greek companies or private citizens cannot use the Geo Data by Ktimatologio for commercial purposes. A real need that could offer added value to Greek IT products and in extention add to the growth to the economy, is not met.
Companies have to pay Google or Microsoft thousands or tens of thousands of Euros every year, to do their job. Nothing stays in Greece, not even the VAT, as those tools are invoiced outside Greece, in other European countries.
What is the obstacle that Ktimatologia S.A. has to overcome to open the… open Geo Data for commercial use? To start, since 2010, the slow moving Greek state, hadn’t approved the pricing list for the services and later, under law 4178 of 2013, an amendment by the Greek Open Source and Open Software society (EL/LAK) for the open use of Geo Data, left a gap in the law for commercial use.
What is needed, is a simple change to that amendment that will allow the use of open Geo Data for commercial purposes. During the discussion we had at the Pirate Party, we saw that there are two basic stands on this. One says that, anything created with money from the taxpayer, should be free for commercial use and the other, while it accepts the bases to that, says that it would prudent to have commecial use pay an amount to keep the quality of the services, whose maintenance is not cheap.
Right now, the Greek Pirate Party is in the process of proposing an amendemnt through discussion and a member vote.